Adam Green / Binki Shapiro

Adam Green & Binki Shapiro

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Since his start with Moldy Peaches, Adam Green has taken the long road to respectability, slowly moving from out of tune anti-folkie to recording this thoroughly adult-oriented album for the august folk label Rounder. Here he teams with Binki Shapiro (former vocalist for Little Joy) on an album of duets that hit the sweet spot between the off-kilter weirdness of Nancy Sinatra's work with Lee Hazlewood and the sexy swagger of Serge Gainsbourg's duets with his pick of ladies. Green and Shapiro's voices blend like a nostalgic dream -- hers smooth as silky stockings, his as rumbling and dry as a desert wind --- as they sing songs of broken hearts, messed up dreams, and sticky situations. The songs are bereft of any of the humor Green usually brings to his work; instead he and Shapiro sound deadly serious and thoroughly disillusioned with love. Despite the gloomy nature of the words, the melodies are always super catchy and the duo, along with producer Noah Georgeson, wrap the songs in warm arrangements that are built around a very '60s-influenced folk-rock sound, but expand into some gently orchestral territory at times. The songs would have worked fine as acoustic duets, but the care and feeding they give them really helps the record stick. So do the great vocal performances from Shapiro (especially on the doo wop-inspired ballad "Casanova"), the bouncy pop songs that sound like they could have been radio hits in 1968 ("Just to Make Me Feel Good," "I Never Found Out"), and the overall sense of satisfaction that comes from hearing the result of two writers at the height of their craft telling it like it is about love and life. Hopefully, Green and Shapiro realize the creative gold they’ve struck here and make this more than just a one-off project. Even if they quit after this, the album will stand as one of the best duet records of the era.

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